Hubby and I decided to get away for a few days. After tossing around several ideas, we settled on exploring a bit about this state we’ve lived in for 16 years. So we ventured to the Crystal River area on the west coast, then headed over to Gainesville to see the sites there.
We began by kayaking in Crystal River where we hoped to see some of the manatees who “winter” there in the warmer waters. We would have missed the one right next to us if a fellow kayaker hadn’t pointed it out to us!
Then we headed to two state parks to enjoy some hiking and an absolutely beautiful afternoon.
The next day we were off to Gainesville to visit the Devils Millhopper Sinkhole, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and Paynes Prairie Preserve.
The Sinkhole was accessed by climbing down a boardwalk of stairs. It took our breath away when it was time to climb back up. But you should have seen the people who were doing it multiple times for exercise!!!
In the gardens we experienced a bamboo forest, meandering pathways leading through flower beds, and all sorts of metal sculptures along the way.
On the way to Paynes Prairie Preserve the sky threatened rain and though both of my weather apps assured us no rain was expected, by the time we got off the highway there was a light mist. We decided to visit anyway and with umbrellas in hand parked our car and headed off to the observation tower hoping to see some of the wild horses or bison that roamed the land. Yes, I said bison.
The nagging mist dampened my mood a bit (pun intended) and yes, several grumbles came from my spirit right through my mouth. But we climbed the observation deck anyway. And were rewarded with six horses is the distance. No bison that day but the horses were thrilling enough. And though the misty rain continued, my mood brightened and I was able to enjoy the experience.
And that’s when it happened. A rainbow began growing. At first it seemed like all we would see was a partial arc. It began to our right and then grew longer and brighter right in front of us until before our eyes was a complete rainbow in all its glory. I couldn’t take enough pictures and though they don’t do it justice, you can see a bit of what we saw that day.
Then it hit me. Here I was complaining about a little rain when it was that very rain that provided the opportunity to view the spectacular rainbow. If we had had the sunny day I was hoping for, we might have seen the horses but we certainly wouldn’t have seen the rainbow.
And so, dear readers, I was reminded that the rainbow comes only after the rain. So, too, in life. Some of our greatest joys come after our darkest despairs. And while none of us wishes for those dark times we can take hope in knowing that as we pass through the waters of despair, God is there. He is with us. And He IS our hope. (Isaiah 43:2)
With love, Mimi